Teemu Pukki’s penalty at Tottenham brought an end to a remarkable 26-year wait for Norwich City in the Premier League. It was the first time a Norwich player had scored a top-flight penalty away from home since December 1993, when Ruel Fox had been successful during a 2-2 draw at Manchester United. It was also the first time that City had been awarded a Premier League penalty away from home since September 1994, during a 2-1 derby win at Ipswich. On that occasion however Carl Bradshaw saw his penalty saved, only to follow up with a successful rebound.
The celebrations may have been short lived, with the hosts reclaiming the lead fortunately through Heung-Min Son just eight minutes later to take a 2-1 victory, but the 3,000 City fans in attendance had just witnessed a rare occurrence. Another lengthy wait that Daniel Farke’s team were not able to end on Wednesday however was the wait for a first top-flight win in London since April 2012, when an Elliott Bennett goal had sealed a 2-1 win at Spurs.
Those hoping to hear the great Escape story of Norwich City are quietly seeing it fade away this season. City displayed shoots of progression in a performance that contained plenty of endeavour against Tottenham Hotspur, but returned to Norfolk pointless.
Daniel Farke has stressed this season that despite their precarious position in the league, his side have competed in all bar three of their Premier League fixtures to date. This was another where City will be left to rue squandered opportunities, as they were narrowly beaten by a Spurs side distinctly lacking Harry Kane’s presence in their offensive phases of play. Daniel Farke has spoken about the need for bravery and if Norwich City are to complete another miracle, and their passages of play, facilitated by Spurs pragmatism, provided them with the confidence required to play their game. If the Canaries are to keep themselves in the hunt for survival, then extracting confidence from performances will be key. Following on from that victory against Bournemouth at the weekend, they needed to retain that momentum and not sink without trace like witnessed at Old Trafford only a matter of weeks previous.
Should they end up back in the Championship come May, they will do by implementing their style of play and refusing to conform to the conventions many associate with being required to play effectively at this level. That’s not an arrogance. It’s a deep-held belief that their way will, in the long-term, allow them to forge a path as a stable Premier League entity in their own right. Relegation would be a difficult pill to swallow given the phases of games where City have looked competent at this level. The real tragedy would be seeing this squad ripped apart by sales when the bigger fish inevitably come calling for their services.
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